Only the Power Stage separates Rally Finland leader Ott Tänak and his second consecutive win on the event, following three stages that were already run this Sunday morning.
Although focusing on driving cleanly and cautiously, the Toyota driver won the first stage – his 200th career stage win – and was quicker than the Citroën of Esapekka Lappi, in second overall, to extend his lead of the event to 22 seconds from Lappi.
As usual, the final stage of the rally will be the Power Stage, with extra championship points for the five fastest crews.
Lappi holds second on home grounds, but is more focused on the threat from behind, as Toyota’s Jari-Matti Latvala took time out of him and is now just eight seconds behind.
Lappi is more unfamiliar with the final day’s stages, after crashing out last year, and admitted that the lack of knowledge was costing him time as it forced him to drive conservatively.
His fellow compatriot Latvala wasn’t very happy with his driving on the first test of the day but set the fastest time in the following one.
Citroën’s Sébastien Ogier recovered from his illness yesterday and made progress to close in to Andreas Mikkelsen, who briefly struggle with his Hyundai stuck in neutral. Mikkelsen still holds fourth but Ogier is now only 2.2 seconds behind him.
The other Hyundai of Craig Breen was sixth after SS21 ahead of the identical i20 Coupé WRC of championship contender Thierry Neuville, but the Irishman checked in late at the start of SS22 – a strategy from the team aiming at maximising Neuville’s score after a disappointing rally for the Belgian so far. Neuville now holds 6th place, with Breen 2.3 seconds behind him.
Ford’s Teemu Suninen continues to hold eighth, but his team mate Gus Greensmith crashed
into a tree on SS21.
This moved FIA WRC 2 Pro leader Kalle Rovanperä and his Škoda Fabia R5 Evo into ninth ahead of FIA WRC 2 leader Nikolay Gryazin in 10th. Tom Kristensson continues to lead FIA Junior WRC, with a big margin over Jan Solans.